Published: August 23rd 2012August 23rd 2012
So I've arrived in Seoul and am staying in a small, homely hostel in the city. The owners have a very cute minature bearded collie who follows you everywhere and likes to sleep on your shoes. It's a funny place with an 11pm 'lights out' policy. Is it a tragic sign of my increasing age that this doesn't actually bother me?
Despite my fears of waking up early due to jetlag I didn't actually wake up until 10am ( apart from when a girl in my room shrieked something in a foreign language in her sleep at 4am and nearly gave me a heart attack).
I decided to go and visit the War Memorial Museum in preperation for tomorrow's trip to the border with North Korea so that I could be sure I knew what it was all about and wouldn't ask any ridiculous questions. This involved taking the Seoul subway a few stations towards town.
Now, here's where London Underground could learn a trick or two. The trains are spacious, well lit, AIR CONDITIONED, and not once did I have the sinking feeling that I might have sat in someone else's urine. On the more disconcerting side, each station has about 4 cabinets of gas masks, which are at your disposal free of charge should there be a CBRN attack. Once on the tube little screens show videos on how to put the gas masks on and, on a serperate issue, how to administer CPR should someone flake on the platform. My main concern is that there were only 32 masks in each cabinet. Can that be enough?!
The museum building itself was huge though the exhibitions themselves weren't as big as you'd expect given the size. It literally started at day dot with bits of spear from the bronze age and the the like ( I pretty much just walked straight through this bit). The part on the Korean War was pretty good and now I feel like I know all I need to know for tomorrow.
Then, if I'm honest, I came home and slept for an hour or so. Planning to head in to the centre of the city tonight for a bit of neon and there's something called the Seoul Fringe on at the moment so hoping to catch some street performances.
Will update tomorrow once I've been to the border. I've read that it's quite a tense atmosphere. The North Koreans torpedoed a South Korean Navy vessel as recent as 2010 ( I'd forgotten about that until I saw a display..again on the underground). Between this and the gas masks you realise how real the whole issue still is over here.
And on that cheery note I'm off in search of caffeine.